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Friday, January 27, 2012

January, Belated Christmas, Lessons in loving and some traveling fun!

We are into the New Year… and here is the first fresh start!
The lack of postings and updates were all for a good reason: We have been in the Lower 48!

Let’s starts with some pictures and some explanations of absence (starting with some pictures from Alaska!):

Enchilada night was a lot of fun!


...Well, it was for us anyways! Poor Lysey!

Oh, Andrew went to the North Pole too!
Here is the proof:


On Christmas Eve, we had chili with some close friends and our little ones got to play.

Elyse did not play nicely :/

Here we are about to sled/snowtube!

Elyse is too cold to smile.
It was a high of 2 degrees.
Poor Lysey.

The view from my tube!

And pathetically, I finished my Christmas cards the day after Christmas...
(Wah, wah, wah)

All 65 of them were sent to the recipients very very late
.... I do apologize if you were one of them.

On our anniversary, our good friends took care of Elyse while we went cross country skiing on our new skiis!

Then on January 2, we went skiing on the hill of Alyeska-- it was BEAUTIFUL!
(And free for military!)

The wintery drive:

Elyse all bundled at the hotel:

Us on the lifts:

Elyse sleeping at the hotel
(in the end, I wish I had stayed with her! IT WAS FREEZING!)

Brent and Lacy left us in December... it was quite surreal as I still feel they are just down the street.
We miss you guys!
Elyse misses you too Shammah!

Oh, and the January spouse social my friend Tara and I hosted!
It was a hot cocoa bar with a chili and pasta dish on the side:

Thank you for your help Lindsey!
These were awesome :)

We shared our wedding albums with everyone as well.
So much fun to see these pictures!

Elyse and Sawyer enjoyed some time together as well!

Oh, and more Christmas (A week after Christmas!)
We finally got the long awaited box from Pop and Grandma DiDi (thank you USPS) so we celebrated a week later too!

Oh, here is Elyse's first car as well
(she LOVES it! Thanks Grammy Mel and G-pa!)

Ok, the gift opening of the Thornbury's package:

We are excited!

Ha! Look at that face!

She says, "Look at my new shoes!!"

She loves shoes already ;)

Ok, this was just funny: The first roll.

She really struggled with this for a while....

Never fear: Eli is here to help!

Eli: "Who? Me?"

He gives her what helps him get through hard times: His Owlsley.

Oh look!

It worked!

Way to go Eli!

Now to the visit:

This shoule be the summory of her visit to Memphis and Knoxville.
(And a little more Christmas ;) )

Yes, nmore traveling. On our way to Knoxville now!

Pit stop:

We got to meet a precious someone too:

Look at those proud daddies!

We found out Elyse likes coffee as well ;)

Time with G-pa!

Ok, Elyse....'re not smiling.

G-pa will tell you how:

Yey for fun secrets!

Loves her G-pa!

And some precious moments to end the picture smack down:

(She loves her Grammy!)

As you can imagine, I was pretty occupied socially and baby-wise to pick up the blogging any sooner than now. And between having a very fussy baby for many reasons (shots that turned into a fever, teething, diaper rash and bruising, etc), I have been working on this posting for several days since our return…. I can only imagine this becoming a trend now that she is getting a bit older.

So here’s a New Year resolution you might or might not like: be timelier with blogging…. Not ‘post more’ or ‘be better about posting faster’, but post at a pace that lets God dictate the time in which is BEST to post our blog, based on family needs and seasonal craziness. Who knows…. Maybe with this method Andrew might post a little something for you guys ;)

Speaking of resolutions, I am sure the majority of you have made some New Year resolutions that you have already broken. It’s ok: You can join my club. For example, I swore I was done with sweets and chocolate for at least a month. Yes, I just had to follow through for a month. Fail on day one…two, and three. But I have been better to cut it out of my diet! Hey, that’s a start… right?

One of the resolutions for the year was to emphasize following through with priority keeping (Yes, the theme of my life). Turns out I have been doing it all wrong too. The methods and the ideas behind each posting of priorities is not wasted, for they are all wonderful reasons for why we should really dedicate a tiered importance chart for categories present in our everyday lives… but putting that into practice was totally not happening the way it should have been, sadly to admit. My problem was putting too much emphasis on getting things done efficiently, fast, leaving no checklist behind instead of dropping what I was doing to make time for what God called me to FIRST: my loved ones.

I wish I could say I learned this by a sudden revelation after evaluating carefully my life. Nope. Ha. Never happens that easy for me…. But actually, it means all the more for it to happen the hard way.

Andrew and I’s marriage is wonderful (don’t take this statement wrong), but on my end, I had a lack of understanding, sacrifice and a true desire for his needs. And it didn’t just start within the last month. It started at the very beginning of ‘us’, but it wasn’t until three years down the road of ignorance and denial that we finally acknowledged our great need for a ‘Come to Jesus’ meeting, where we discussed the slowly crumbling pillars in our marriage. Graciously, the Spirit gave us a heart to truly want to change and love one another better and, quite honestly, it has been one of the biggest transformations I have witnessed in my husband and I’s lives since the time I started walking in a relationship with Christ. And I know it’s no accident that it happened so fast: God promises to change us when we trust Him to… He even gives us the power to (Romans 6, Hebrews, 1 Corinthians 10:33). No other religion has the truth to promise the kind of hope Christ gives. I have seen him change my life twice now, dramatically…. And I’m sure it won’t be the last.

Tuesday, I received a call from my mom telling me of a very untimely (for us humans) death of a very close family friend. To know just how much this man was cherished is not enough for words to describe how, accurately, he loved deeply the Lord and his family. The memory that sticks out the most to me through all of this is how dear he and his wife were together every time we got together with their family: I didn’t know a couple more likely to show how much they loved each other at their age as openly as they did. They loved their kids dearly and took time to show that. It’s just a little unreal to me that he has actually gone on without us…. Maybe it’s because of the miles apart it feels like a bad dream or maybe it’s because I am in denial that God took such a wonderful salt and light from the earth, but whatever it is, I know the biggest reason is that someone wonderful lost their best friend without warning. For my best friend in the entire world to leave me like that, in an instant, is the saddest of all thoughts. My prayers are with our dear Harpers.

Yet it was another instance that reinforced the fact I needed to lay down my laundry when my hubby comes in from a long day at work and make him a glass of cool water while inviting him to let the stress roll off his shoulders with a good relaxing massage. How often I let my family slide off the deep-end of life without asking them how well they are treading in the many happenings of the day. It may seem like a large sacrifice at the end of the day, but at the end of your life it was those moments that bring it meaning…. And will bring God the most glory of all.

I have more joy now than I have had in a long time. Just spending time making time for my family has been the best path I have ever taken, and I am positive even will.

(Posting in honor of Gregg Harper. We will miss you dearly. Praise be to God we can have joy knowing where you are now.)

Check out more photos to come under the baby updates tab later on today!